On The Ammo Shortage

Our sister blog AOD have published an article on the ammo shortage and how it is effecting the ammo industry

Some smaller ammo makers have already fallen by the wayside because they can’t get enough raw materials and components to keep up with demand. The biggest shortages we are seeing right now is .22 LR and 9mm, and many makers can’t come up with the brass, primers, bullets, and powder to make any more of these popular ammo types. And the shortages are getting worse with each passing day. Many ammo makers have been forced to raise their prices because the cost of components have risen, especially copper for making bullets. Some other ammo makers that I know have gone above and beyond to seek out components, and because they were forced to pay more they in turn had to raise prices. But they only raised their prices by the amounts they are having to pay to get the needed components.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • ammo whammo

    i usually hate politicizing things but, the fact that the DHS plans on buying 1.6 billion rounds in an ammo shortage sounds pretty odd.


    in the end the increased demand causes inflation and more of a shortage, this is similar to how old time monopolies would make a splash in the market by buying a huge amount of materials to cut off its competition.

  • Eric X Ericx

    So explain the shortage on Russian, Czech, Finnish, Yugo & Mexican ammo…

    • Ian

      if ammo
      then buy

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    There’s no shortage. People are just hoarding the stuff… Hell, if you turned the state of Texas upside down and shook it…

    Never mind what I was about to write. Kudos to Pat Cascio for writing the above mentioned article.

    • Rob in Katy

      You don’t think that it is due to all the talk of banning ammo since they can’t ban guns? I think that a lot of folks are preparing for the fall of this nation and the colapse of society – that may or may not be a valid fear depending on where you live. In Houston we lived through the influx of Katrian refugees, it was not reported and it was not pretty. Parts of Houston that had NEVER had a murder were having several and the police were not able to do a thing.

    • Georgiaboy61

      Re: “There’s no shortage. People are just hoarding the stuff… Hell, if you turned the state of Texas upside down and shook it…”
      Uh, how about trying the following instead: hold Washington, D.C. and all those govt. agencies upside down and shaking them…. the ones hoarding are the govt.

      • Mr. Fahrenheit

        Right, as mentioned below, the government is hoarding all the .22 ammo it can get its hands on. We’re about to be over run by black helicopters filled with guys slinging Ruger 10/22’s.

        • Jim Nanban

          The logic is thus: If the government is buying in record numbers of common calibres while simultaneously pursuing multiple avenues of firearms restriction (including ammunition restriction), then it is better to buy ammo now while it’s still legal. If there had not been record-breaking buys by virtually all armed departments and agencies, the mentality would be “well they’re not banning ammo, at least I can buy that if they pass this crap.” The ammo buys and putting ammo on the table as a possibly restrictable commodity (California’s already done it) suggest that maybe you WON’T be able to buy it later. That’s where the preparatory buying of calibres the government isn’t buying comes in.

  • JT

    “The solution: stop hoarding ammo” – from the article

    Are you hoarders friggin’ satisfied? seriously, it isn’t some government agent provacateur out at the walmart at the crack of dawn buying every box of ammo there is or investing their life savings at cheaper than dirt, lucky gunner, etc. It’s You. You’re ruining the sport and damaging whatever trust their was among sportsman and turned it into some doomsday fantasy. Seriously, when I hear the guy or gal on the street or in a diner somewhere bragging about how they got 3000rds or whatever before the shelves sold out I will think lesser of the community and that saddens me that the government has succeeded in causing shooting enthusiasts to turn against one another and harm the sport they love. Of course if someone would like to provide concrete evidence that the shortages are due to government ammo purchases or due to profiteers, go ahead and post. You cannot say that this whole situation has not soured the community. It has.

    • JT

      and also…of all this ammo the profiteers are hoarding, how much of it is getting snatched up? Can you really even place that much blame on the profiteers if private gun owners are buying it anyway?

    • JT

      BTW, I believe that I make valid points despite all the negative feedback I will no doubt receive. I won’t be checking back in as it would be pointless, but I think these points important for discussion.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Recently I was at Walmart one morning looking for some 22 so I could take my son to the range. I got lucky and scored two boxes.

      While I was there I overheard a guy talking about how he was there every day. He would buy his three-box maximum of whatever was there and turn around and sell it to the local gun shops at a profit.

      I know, I know; it’s good ole capitalism at work, but I still wanted to hit the guy.

      • That Guy

        Yeah… A few guys were buying up the .22lr around my buddy’s town. Taking it to a flea market and selling it for 3x the price. 75$ for a $25 box. Heard at the gun show some were selling bricks of .22lr for almost or right at $100.

    • Patrick Henry,The2nd

      Its not just hoarders. There are a lot of new gun owners buying ammo. And “hoarding” makes sense right now- if you need ammo, you are going to buy as much as you can when you can.

    • Evil Hoarder

      Well I must be a “hoarder” . I am a new shooter and I want to go to the range and shoot so I go and buy some ammo to do that. The most ammo I have had at 1 time is 200 rounds. So like I said I must be a “Evil Hoarder”.

      • Nadnerbus

        Then he is not talking about you. Hoarders buy up everything they can, into the many thousands of rounds per caliber. Hell, even a couple/few thousand rounds of your main caliber really isn’t too bad. I feel low when I get below a thousand. But if you are in the store every morning when the shipment comes in and buying your maximum allotment, then you are part of the problem.

        Personally, I haven’t bought any ammo in over a year because I just refuse to pay these prices. And I haven’t been able to shoot much ever since. All I want is a frigging box of .22 for my Ruger.

    • Vermin.308Winchester

      Hording is a natural and prudent response to a government that one day must be overthrown think of the advantage that will give us in an asemtrical bush conflict every panic increases the amount of ammo nationally stored for that conflict whereas the ammount availble in the reatail supply line fluctuates constantly and will ultimately recover we need to worry about copper and lead exsploration and sanction as we burry more copper never to be recovered

  • billy bob

    where is all this ammo going? anyone who owns a range should get a metal detector and go start digging to collect all that spent ammo, probably recoup a sh!t load of change.

    • A metal detector won’t work on brass or or anything useful

      • Vince

        I hate to contradict you on that one Phil but people have used a metal detectors for years to find both brass and lead objects. Youtube has hundreds of videos showing people finding spent bullets and brass cartridges while treasure hunting.

  • 5

    Amen JT. Even when I was shooting in competitions, a case of pistol ammo would last about a month and a half. It used to be the occasional survival guy that would come in the shop and buy up case or two. Now its the “respectable” people. Doctors, lawyers, and business people. I thought these peoole had a little more sense. By the way, DHS isn’t buying up 22lr.

    • J.T.

      Want to know why more people are buying it a case at a time? It is because that is what is being offered for sale. I have seen a few retailers that whenever they get ammo in, don’t even bother taking it out of the case and put the whole case up for sale instead of selling individual boxes. That is good for the hoarders, and those who can afford to drop $300-400 on a case of 9mm, but bad for people like me that can only afford to buy a couple boxes at at time. I see 9mm for sale all the time, just not being offered in low enough quantities for me to afford.

      • 5

        Hate to say it but you gotta make hay when the sun is shining. If you people are dumb enough to pay twice the price, I’m smart enough to take your money. I just wonder where the heck you live? Is it really that bad where you live? #1 there is no such things as zombies, #2 if the gun hating liberals made it through 8 years of Bush, you’ll make it through 8 years of Obama. #3 are you really going to shoot your neighbors, friends and relatives or are you going to pitch in and make things right? The ammo shortage/ hoarding is a prime example how spoiled and self involved our society has devolved into.

  • TangledThorns

    I don’t think its just hoarding but that the gun owner population exploded over the panic and they want ammo too. Kinda like imagining what would happen to gas and food prices if we magically gained a adult population the size of Florida overnight.

    • lbeacham

      I was a teenager in Fla. during the OPEC caused gas shortage. Fist fights and shootings were not uncommon. God help us if a national food shortage occurs. There is only 3 to 5 days food inventory in most large grocery stores now. If food hoarding started tomorrow, many people would be begging and killing for food within weeks. Food stamps are usless if the shelves are empty. This ammo shortage should be a lesson.

  • Tim U

    Nobody around here has .22 or 9mm, so if it is still hoarders, it’s got to be one or two guys tops for my whole area. I find that a little hard to grasp.

    I haven’t bought much ammunition, but I also haven’t shot much either since I know I can’t replace my ammunition. I wish I could shoot more, but when I can’t guarantee seeing anything for a long long time, it’s hard. Don’t want to run out when I might need it.

  • Terrible Texan

    So how much more of a shortage do we need to endure before someone comes up with an alternative to lead and brass? It’s not like those materials are going to be any more plentiful after this is all over. How long until we get a plastic that replaces brass?

    • hailexiao

      Mild steel is still plentiful, but for some reason only Eastern European manufacturers are using that material.

      • Chrome Dragon

        I’ve still got a little steel-cased .22 bugshot. I wonder what the headstamp is…

  • Gary Kaunang

    I think the development of cased telescoped ammunition should be accelerated.

    Here’s a quote from http://www.google.com/patents/US4770098

    “..thus substantially reducing the need for strategic materials such as copper.”

  • noob

    “But in ramping up capacity, they’re taking on more risk. When the panic dies down, demand could tank…”

    Well, the long term solution isn’t to stop hoarding. Sure stop hoarding now to give some relief to the supply chain, but the real long term solution is to buy more ammo over a long time period.

    Prioritize guns in your budget, and all new shooters should buy enough to be proficient in their arms. Keep that demand to be a forever thing, not just in bad times.

    Welcome the new shooters. New shooters, support the companies that are betting on you buying a lot more of their products.

    I hope that the new shooters will be big ammo consumers for many decades yet.

  • F1tifoso

    Ironically I just stopped by a Cabellas on Tuesday and found the shelves FULL of ammo!
    Some was still missing (silly 0.32 FMJ for instance) but available through online order, so it looks like some places have caught up finally…
    Also noticed AR-15’s more desperate sales at the recent gun show – we’ve hit the peak and are falling I’d say.

  • jheard1292

    Yes, horders have created a more in depth shortage and increased the price people have to pay for ammo. However, nobody is talking about the real problem behind the shortage. The problem is that the U.S. government has in less than two years contracted with ammunition manufactures to deliver 1.2 Billon (that’s with a B”) rounds of handgun ammuntion as well as shotgun and tactical rifle ammuntion. What makes this more interesting is that it is not for the military but rather for Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, the IRS, NOAA and others. Yes, some agents of these agencies have to carry guns, qualify and practice. I get that. But the math does not add up to 1.2 Billion rounds over 5 years. The intent by your goverment is to take away your ammuniton if they cannot take your guns. If the government buys up 50% of the nations total ammuniton manufacturing capacity, the leaving for the rest of us causes concerns and many will hoard what they can find out of fear. The problem is who created the shortage and the fear? Many will not believe this but I am a career government employee and know how to find governent, for public viewing, contracts administration sites. When I first recieved an email from a buddy with this info, I aslo thought this wa some idiot trying to cause a stir. However, look at Fed biz ops webstiet and you might be suprised at what you see. I don’t know if you can navigate the site but the links are below:

    DHS 750,000 rounds of ammunition, Fed Biz
    Opps solicitation # HSFLGL-12-B-00003


    174,000 Rounds
    of .357 Ammo for Social Security, , Fed Biz Opps solicitation # SSA-RFQ-12-1851


    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has put in an
    order for 46,000 rounds of .40-caliber hollow-point bullets.



  • Anthony

    It’s not hoarders….I shoot half of what I buy and put the rest back for times like these. The problem is with the pirates on gunbroker making 3 to 4 times what they paid for it in profit and the idiots paying for it.

  • Thomas H Waldron

    I am still a bit disheartened by the fact that in January 2014 i still can’t get 22lr short of buying a firearm. I purchased a m&p 22 and the guy at gander mtn asked me if i wanted some ammo. I asked if they had any and he said they had 4 cases in the back. So I got a 500 round box. I went back to see if i could get some more and the same guy said 22lr was to be sold only with a firearms purchase. The thing is the proper break in on a handgun is 250 rounds. It gets really expensive to by a gun just to get ammo.